Nine Circles ov…Clearing Out This Week’s Promo Pile

The last time I did something like this was back in 2018, but maybe I need to do it more. With so much music coming out it’s easy to just sit back and cherry pick the albums you’re already anticipating and write about it. And as many of our staff focus on things other than review writing (thank the heavens for the consistent and consistently excellent output of Ian) I suspect we’re missing out on a lot of great music that just isn’t getting the attention here at Nine Circles it should. So, foolish as it may seem I called out to Fearless Editor Josh™ with my request: give me nine promos for albums coming out this week, and I’ll listen and give some semblance of commentary for them. Ambitious? Perhaps. Stupid? Almost certainly. But if it gets some visibility for some bands and gets me attuned to some new music instead of constantly digging into the bins for rock and prog circa ’69-’74 all the better. So for this edition of Nine Circles ov... let’s take a look at some of the music coming out this week.

Aeviterne - The Ailing Facade

There’s something in the water in New York, turning standard death metal into something more sinister and urbane, unafraid to pummel discordant styles and textures in a dense, concrete soup of riffage. At least that’s my impression listening to the debut full-length by Aeviterne. The industrial percussion mixes with bludgeoning guitars in The Ailing Facade to create something other: incredibly angry music that owes allegiance to bands like Godflesh and Killing Joke as much as it does to Immolation and Suffocation. “Denature” is a dizzying introduction to an anixety-laden nightmare that will give your psyche whiplash.

Black Fucking Cancer - Procreate Inverse

Can you guess what kind of music a band called Black Fucking Cancer plays? If you said wicked cold traditional black metal in the vein of bands like 1349, Dark Funeral and the like well, winner winner chicken dinner. Procreate Inverse is an icy, technical beast that isn’t content unless it’s ripping your skin open and vomiting all manner of sacrilege into your newly obtained orifice. You can get a taste with the concise “Serpentitous Flames” but the real meat comes with the massive epics that lose none of their fury or power, even at a whopping 16 minutes with the title track. Black Fucking Cancer is seriously evil and deliciously fun at loud volume.

chemicide - common sense

I still don’t get why the old school thrash revival doesn’t get nearly as much coverage as every other hipster sub-genre out there. Loud, fast, technical…I’ll generally take it over more popular fare any day of the week, especially when it’s done as gnarled and fun as it is on Common Sense, the third full length from Costa Rica rippers Chemicide. This has the raw charm of the 1,001 bands trying to get on the bandwagon back in the 80s, when labels like Combat and Noise were scooping up everything they could. Songs like opener “Self Destruct” and “False Democracy” feel like a perfect soundtrack to the chaos in the world, and I’m happy to have new shred like this in my ears.

Children of the Sün wade in the waters of that late 60s/early 70s rock that embodies folk, blues, and psychedelia in equal measure, and they do it really well. Why is it Sweden of all places that seems to have a handle on doing this kind of thing like one one else? A large part of what makes Roots, the band’s second full length so impressive is the searing lead vocal work of Josefina Berglund Ekholm, channeling a smoother, less damaged Janis Joplin at times and a fired up Joni Mitchell at others. She’s backed vocally by Ottilia Berglund Ekholm who’s listed as “choir” along with Wilma Ås who also plays keyboards, and the trio bring a syrupy thickness to the vocal work that’s never cloying. Lead single “Gaslighting” gives a good impression of what the band is cooking, but you can go to the more folk leanings of “Eden” or the electric stomp of “Leaves” to see how wide the band’s influences are.

extinction ad - culture of violence

I don’t know if Josh is trying to throw me a bone, but at least here is the first band I actually recognize. Extinction A.D. trades in brutal, technical thrash, and they pretty much nailed the sound with 2018’s Decimation Treaty. 2022 sees them moving to Unique Leader Records, and Culture of Violence maintains Extinction A.D.’s identity while adding a faint modern metal polish, a la Lamb of God. The music’s as strong as ever, with cuts like the title track and “1992” showing there’s no shortage of staccato riffing and horn throwing choruses. The production is a little more compressed and narrow, making everything on Culture of Violence feel a little more angry and, well…violent. This is America, this is a Warzone indeed…

friends of hell

A quick word to Rise Above, who write a mean and lengthy press release: all you need to tell me is that Friends of Hell features Albert Witchfinder (Reverend Bizarre) on vocals and I AM SOLD. If you are any kind of doom fan, you already know how great Reverend Bizarre was, and you also already know how Lee Dorian’s label delivers the doom goods again and again. Even so, the pedigree on this is insane, as the man behind the band is Tas Danazoglou of Satan’s Wrath and formerly of Electric Wizard. Think the gnarliest of Sabbath with copious helpings of Candlemass and Cathedral. Everything is dank and dark and just completely set to blow your soul in a puff of purple smoke. Check out the single for “Shadow of the Impaler” but get ready for plenty more when this hits.

Hellfrost and Fire - Fire Frost and Hell

Get it right: the band is Hellfire and Frost. The album is Fire, Frost and Hell. The voice is Dave Ingram, who aside from his stint in Bolt Thrower and his continued roar in Benediction has been keeping the Transcending Obscurity label chugging along with Down Among the Dead Men. The solos are from Scott Fairfax, who plays in Memoriam featuring Karl Willetts, who also sang for Bolt Thrower. You can try wrapping your head around the Six Degrees being played here, or you can just take a look at all those band names and know what kind of death metal is featured on Fire, Frost and Hell. Guttural, chugging, blasting death metal that wants nothing more than to tear your limbs off and gnaw the meat off the bones. “Black Secrets in the Splintering Walls” is an amazing song title, and the music within is no slouch, either.

knight and gallows - for honor and bloodshed

Firmly planted in trad metal, the California 5-piece Knight & Gallow follow in the footsteps of bands like Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, and newer bands like Eternal Champion. The chops are certainly there, with guitarists Ryan Younger and Carlos Sanchez trading solos left and right, and vocalist Nick Chambers hitting that clean mid register that’s essential for the genre. Debut For Honor and Bloodshed ticks off all the things you’d want from a band carrying the torch for traditional metal, but I’m honestly still trying to find the hook in songs like “Godless” and “Soul of a Cinder” that make this stand out from an already crowded room of artists. Give it some time, though…those guitars are sweet.

without waves - comedian

If nothing else, Without Waves wins for the best cover art this week. Straddling the line between extreme metal, electronic noise, jazz fusion…basically the DEP kitchen sink approach, the band’s third full length Comedian is a fragmented assault against the anxiety and dread-inducing events of the last few years. Opener “Good Grief” feels like Mr. Bungle meets Immolation with some vocals that I swear was Justin Isham from Open Hand (it’s not – it’s lead vocalist/guitarist Anthony Wan and he’s insane). It’s a lot, in other words, but in a way that doesn’t feel like a mess. I’m definitely feeling this.

Lot of good stuff coming your way if you’re willing to jump off the beaten path a bit. We’ll figure out a way to get more of this out so you can hear more of what’s coming down the pipe.

In the meantime, keep it heavy.

Chris


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